The Millennial Leader – Part 1

At a recent gathering of spiritual formation leaders working in higher education, I was asked to provide some reflections on how millennials (those who are in their 20’s today) are growing as leaders. With our work at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Pierce Center for Disciple-Building as my back drop, I shared with the group how optimistic and hopeful I am regarding this generation.

Unfortunately, those who have researched millennials tend to critique them as narcissistic, entitled, lazy, and disrespectful. Other words that describe them include: confident, connected, educated, team oriented, sheltered, “me” generation. They are sometimes referred to as the “five point harness” generation…those who grew up well protected in car seats that met ever increasing strict guidelines, well protected from any potential harm or danger. They were the ones who were treated extra special by teaches and coaches…the ones who got trophies on the soccer field regardless of their performance. And, they are the generation that has grown up with the Internet, knowing more about technology than any previous group. As a result, they consider themselves special and like to be treated that way.

Who are the millennials in your sphere of influence? Can you define some of the traits that are most reflected by millennials? In what ways are you relating to millennials and how concerned or encouraged are you about this particular generation?

One of the more gracious articles I found on millennials in general, and as leaders in particular, highlighted 8 characteristics of the millennial leader (from the Boston College Center for Work and Family Executive Briefing Series):

1. Active attention (just like they value, so they will offer to others)
2. Transparency (they are more engaged when they are able to learn and understand as much as possible from their employer and team members)
3. Relevancy for others (seeking meaning in their work, and will impart relevance to their employees)
4. Relevancy for oneself (sensitized to others as well as their own growth and development pathway)
5. Passion (passionate about their work, and infuse passion into their workplace and community)
6. Accountable leadership (more likely to reject hierarchical leadership/power and will lead by team motivation, collegiality and accountability)
7. Autonomy through flexibility (when and where one works during the day is perceived as a sign of being respected; they are open to non-traditional behaviors that provide flexibility and autonomy)
8. Self-care as a reflection of organizational health (they see a direct connection between their own health and the health of their workplace; are more sensitive to ways of developing healthier work-life integration)

In addition to these more secular leadership insights, I offered a few more from my observations of millennials as spiritual leaders…which will be the focus of my next blog entry!

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.